To do a first look or not to..that is the question. *One brides advice* -long

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
4742 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Great advice!

As a photographer I love when couples choose to do a first look. It brings the stress level down SO much! Here’s the thing, everyone is so concerned that if they do a first look they’ll be missing out on the “reaction” their groom will have when they walk down the isle. I can promise you, those super emotional looks on the grooms face as the bride walks down during the ceremony….yeah, those don’t happen as often as you think. There are nerves, excitement, a huge crowd of people, etc. It’s like sensory and emotion overload.

I get more genuine reaction when I have couples do a first look that waiting until walking down the isle. Plus, when you knock out family or bridal party pictures ahead of time you free up time after the ceremony and have more downtown to relax where you aren’t rushed.

Post # 5
6812 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

This is great advice! We have opted not to do a first look – we’re actually doing a sunrise ceremony, so a first look would be nearly impossible, but part of the reason is that FI is against seeing me before the wedding. I actually usually don’t like first look sessions (I’ve never really seen many that “wowed’ me) so I wasn’t too upset – yours is one that would have me thinking twice about it though, just look at the groom’s face! But, I hope this helps other brides who can’t decide between the two, bc I know tons of brides have that same question (I did, too, until I came up with a different solution-the sunrise ceremony).

Post # 6
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

My favorite picture from the wedding is the one of my grrom’s face the first time he saw me at the end of the aisle, but I’m SO happy you’re happy with your choice!

Also: You have THE most gorgeous hair I have EVER seen! I had to say it!

Post # 8
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@SweetHoneyBee:  Thank you for this post!  I too was struggling with whether or not to do a first look…ultimately we decided we’re going to do one.  Due to time constraints, and logistics it would be the only way for us to get all of the pictures we want captured/brial party/parents/us two, AND be able to enjoy our cocktail hour.  My FI has also added a raw bar to our cocktail hour which he would be so bummed if he missed out on! 🙂

Also, with the large number of people we’re inviting to the wedding, it’ll allow us to greet a good portion of them at the cocktail hour and thank them for coming etc., so that we can enjoy more of our reception.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a post on here from a bee who regretted doing a first look. 🙂

Post # 9
279 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I loved doing a first look. In addition to reasons the OP mentioned, it also meant for me that I got to spend most of my day WITH my fiance/husband, instead of hiding from him. We got to hang out with our bridal party prior to the ceremony and that was one of the most fun times we had. I honestly can’t even remember walking down the aisle – it was so overwhelming seeing all the guests, trying to remeber to smile, and everything else that it’s just a blur. But I remember our first look!

Post # 10
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

This is all 110% true.

We struggled for a long time about whether or not to do a first look, with most of the “no” side of the argument coming from influence from family members and friends who were aghast that we’d tempt the evil wedding powers by seeing each other before the magical walk down the aisle. We ultimately decided to do one anyway.

Initially, my strongest argument to do it was: I know I’m going to cry when I first see you, probably ugly-cry, and I don’t want to ugly-cry in front of 150 people as I take a long and slow walk down a huge aisle. I want to remember my walk down the aisle, not spend the whole time trying to compose myself.

As time went by, our arguments for it got stronger and stronger. “It’ll settle my nerves so much to see you”, “we’ll get so many pictures out of the way so we can spend as much time as possible with our guests!” (huge one), “we love the pictures we’ve seen of other first looks”, etc.

I’m here to tell you that it was hands down the best decision we made in all of our wedding planning, and not only that but it actually had an unintended consequence that was one of my favorite parts of the day.

Our first look was sweet but silly. As I walked up behind my almost-husband, I did something very typically “us” that we do almost each time we walk up behind one another anywhere in the house: I reached out and grabbed his butt. The photographers loved it! And so he turned around and we had our sweet moment, our exchanges of “you look AMAZING!”, and the other memories that I love. But we were also able to be silly and goofy and laugh together like we love to do.

Doing a first look took nothing away from my walk down the aisle. I walked down calmly, cooly, and collected, remembering every step and taking all of it in. I’d say there were no tears, except I have it on good authority that it was actually my “there’s no way I’ll cry at the wedding” husband who had a few tears fall! So, for anyone concerned that doing a first look means it will ruin the emotion/reaction of the walk down the aisle, there you go. We had an amazing first look, and my stoic husband cried as I walked down the aisle anyway. Laughing


Post # 11
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Thank you for writing this!

I am one of those stuck in the middle and can’t decide brides!  I love all the logistical reasons for a first look and the private time FI and I will have if we do one.  But much like you were- I can’t get passed not seeing him for the first time walking down the aisle.  

I guess I’m just so nervous that I’ll regret doing a first look- but I haven’t seen one bride on here ever say she regretted it.  

I’m still in the undecided camp, but this definitely helps ease my nerves a little if we decide to go the first look route!


Post # 12
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012 - Chateau Briand

your first look is adorable! We chose to do a first look and I regret it because although our photographer was awesome and all the other pictures are wonderful, him and our event coordinator dropped the ball. They had us do our first look in a room in front of our very very large bridal party AND family, so it was super awkward and our photos reflect that. But it sounds like that doesn’t usually happen so to those on the fence about it, I say go for it but make sure it will be a private moment between the couple. It sounds like your photographer did a great job tho 🙂 

Post # 13
9859 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

I really don’t WANT to do a first look, neither of us do, but the practical, logical part of my brain tells me we should.  Our ceremony is at 5:30 and dinner at 7:30.  Ceremony should only be 30 minutes MAX (I’m hoping for 15 TBH) so we should have lots of time because everything’s at one spot.  But I’m worried something will go wrong…

Post # 14
1028 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

My fiancee and I will definitely do a “first look” but we are undecided as to whether we want to get ready together. We will have 2 photographers which means we  can get ready separately but we are such a non-traditional couple (2 women getting married in South America!)  we figured why not go way out the norm? Still up in the air but the first look is a must!

Post # 15
3833 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We decided against a first look – DH is big on traditon – but we still knocked out a lot of photos ahead of time by doing solo bride and groom shots in separate locations (our photographer brought a second shooter).  So before the ceremony, I did pics solo and with my parents, siblings, and bridal party and he did the same. Then after the ceremony, we did all the combined shots with family and the whole wedding party, as well as just bridge & groom shots. It worked out perfectly.

Post # 16
4163 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

I agree with the  poster who said that no one regrets doing a first look. For ours, it we just me and DH- our photographer kept a respectful distance, and we were able to just admire/take in each other.


I am SO emotional, and I was able to get a lot of that out of the way. (Although I did tear up a bit during the ceremony…there’s an awesome photo of him handing me my wedding hankie, but that’s a whole other story.)


Most of our favorite photos are the ones taken before the ceremony. And I love the fact that I had it “pulled together” walking down the aisle- I was able to really enjoy/be in the moment.


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